Building on a proud 100-year British aviation heritage, Airbus is part of the very fabric of the UK – which is one of the company’s four home markets, alongside France, Germany and Spain. Its 11,000-strong UK workforce is part of a global family of 125,000 employees.
Each of the divisions – Airbus, Airbus Helicopters and Airbus Defence and Space – leads their respective market, relying on diverse skills, advanced technologies and facilities, that can only be found in the UK, across more than 25 sites stretching across the country from Aberdeen to Portsmouth.
The UK, with its global influence in the aerospace, defence, space and security sectors, remains an important part of Airbus; much as Airbus remains an important part of the UK – with local revenues of £4.4 billion.
Today, Airbus is the largest commercial aerospace company in the UK, as well as its biggest civil aerospace exporter. The majority of the wings on Airbus commercial aircraft are designed and built in North Wales.
Airbus Helicopters is a major supplier of helicopters to the civil, defence and air ambulance sectors in the UK and is a key supplier to the Ministry of Defence.
A recent Oxford Economics Impact Report found that Airbus was responsible for £5.6 billion of total contribution to the UK economy, and this is thanks to the deep relationships we have with more than 2,000 British suppliers, supporting over 86,000 jobs across our supply chain, 30% of which are SMEs.
Pushing the boundaries of aerospace means providing sustainable opportunities for all; in 2020, 45% of Airbus’ procurement was in the 10% most deprived local authorities.
Levelling up local partners and regional growth
Airbus has invested significantly in levelling up its UK workforce, training more than 1,100 apprentices over the last ten years and has collaborated with more than 20 universities, spending c.£250 million each year on UK Research and Development.
Airbus is proud that the average wage paid by Airbus is 1.6 times the UK national average, demonstrating the positive impact of Airbus on the UK economy.
We are also actively working with institutions and partners to progress the UK’s net-zero and decarbonisation missions via the research and testing of our zero-emission programme, ZEROe, as well as our recently launched Airbus Zero Emission Development Centre for hydrogen technologies and our AIRTeC research and testing facility.
Airbus’ strong and enduring relationship with the UK is a vital element in our ongoing success. We look forward to continuing to deepen our ties over the years and decades to come.
The sites at Filton and Broughton design, test and manufacture the wings for all Airbus’ commercial aircraft with the exception of the A220, which are built in Northern Ireland, directly sustaining more than 8,000 full-time jobs and hundreds of apprenticeships.
Broughton has a proud tradition of aerospace manufacturing dating back 80 years, having supplied the RAF with vital aircraft during the Second World War. Employing almost 5,000 people, Broughton is a global centre of excellence for manufacturing and delivers over 500 wing sets per year for the A320 family, A330 and A350. Airbus has invested more than £2 billion in the Broughton plant over the past 10 years.
Core activities at Filton, where an additional 3,000 people work, are the design, engineering and support for Airbus wings, fuel systems and landing gear systems. Teams also work on aerodynamics research, development and test facilities, including our future zero-emissions programme, ZEROe, while wings for the A400M transporter are assembled on site.
Present in the UK for more than 40 years, Airbus Helicopters activity is headquartered at Oxford Airport – the UK’s civil helicopter hub – from where the company provides the country’s premium rotary wing aircraft solutions. Airbus provides the entirety of the country’s police helicopter fleet, 65% of the air ambulance fleet, and half of the country’s overall civil helicopter fleet.
Airbus is also an important helicopter supplier to the UK armed forces. These include dedicated helicopters for operations across the globe – including the Puma 2, the workhorse of the RAF, and the Airbus Dauphin to UK Special Forces.
Airbus also provides the H135 and H145 aircraft for the UK Ministry of Defence Military Flying Training System, meaning that for more than half a century, every helicopter pilot in the UK has been trained on an Airbus Helicopter.
As the biggest supplier of large aircraft to the Royal Air Force, Airbus is responsible for the delivery (through the AirTanker partnership) of the RAF’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft, designated the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport.
In Newport, South Wales, Airbus specialises in secure connectivity, cyber solutions and the security of critical infrastructure in the UK, serving as a key partner to the UK government and NATO-led information infrastructure programmes. One notable product, a powerful encryption device named Ectocryp, has been dubbed the “Enigma for the 21st century.”
Airbus Farnborough site is home to Zephyr, the world’s leading solar-electric, stratospheric Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). Designed and developed in the UK, Zephyr is a world-record breaking aircraft that can provide see, sense and connect capabilities which have the potential to revolutionise defence, humanitarian and environmental missions all over the world.
As the largest space company in Europe, and the UK’s major sovereign space company, Airbus designs and manufactures advanced satellites and systems for telecommunications, Earth observation, navigation and science programmes.
Key work includes leading the European Space Agency (ESA) Solar Orbiter mission to study the Sun, the ESA ExoMars rover mission, and the Sentinel 5P, Aeolus, and Biomass Earth observation satellites which are helping fight climate change.
Airbus operates the UK’s military satellite communications fleet, providing all beyond line of sight services to the country’s armed forces, including mobile voice, video, internet and broadcast.
Delivered through the Skynet 5 constellation, these services also meet the needs of other military and government users, including NATO. Airbus is seeking to build the next generation of the Skynet programme, known as Skynet 6A, a key component of the Government-industry UK space strategy.
Find here more information, for the Airbus Space activity in United Kingdom
Airbus is an active supporter of numerous skills and diversity initiatives, including the government-led WISE campaign, campaigns by the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, as well as being a signatory to and supporting organisation of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, which launched at the Farnborough Airshow in 2018.
Airbus is a member of the 5% Club, a campaign focused on recruiting apprentices and graduates into the UK workforce, with the aim of ensuring that 5% of the company’s workforce in the UK are apprentices, graduates or sponsored students on structured programmes within the next five years.
The future of the UK
Airbus is proud to work closely with the UK government as part of the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), the strategic partnership which has been established to secure the future of the UK aerospace industry for the next 20 years and beyond.
The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) promotes transformative technology in air transport and funds world-class research and development through a £3.9 billion joint government-industry programme. It provides a roadmap of the innovation necessary to keep the UK competitive in the global aerospace market and complements the broader strategy for the sector created by the AGP.
The ATI has secured £685 million over the next three years from the Government for research and technology projects in the UK - over £1 billion when matched by industry - means that we can continue to invest in our R&T programme on wings, landing gear, fuel systems and zero emission aircraft. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the ATI which will support the company’s efforts to deliver the world's first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035.